Wednesday, September 22, 2021

VST REVIEW: Cherry Audio Mercury-4 Virtual Analog Software Synth

 


Cherry Audio Mercury-4 Review. 


Virtual analog doesn't get much more instant, fun, and accessible as this. 

Cherry Audio's latest addition to their collection of vintage virtual analog products is a recreation of Roland's 4 voice proto-poly Jupiter 4 synthesizer with some enhancements, not least of which is that it's now 16 voice polyphonic. 

Users of the Jupiter 4 included Vince Clarke and the early incarnation of Depeche Mode and Yazzo, I believe it features on some early Duran Duran tracks courtesy of Nick Rhodes. The Cars also had one, as did The Human League, and Thomas Dolby. 

I recently took a look at their Oberheim Eight-Voice recreation, and whilst it sounded great, I did feel the enhancements and implementation were a little 'cumbersome.'. No such problem with the Mercury-4. I'm pleased to say, it's instant, accessible and loads of fun. 

Don't be fooled by the single oscillator plus sub signal source. Mercury-4 is capable of plenty of big, fat, bass, lead and poly sounds. The 16 voice implementation helps with this, as you can use Unison mode and still be polyphonic. The faithful reproduction of the original ensemble/chorus (the only 'effects' section from the original hardware version) offers additional assistance in the 'fatness department.'

Mercury-4 Basic Architecture. 


Saw, square and pulse waves are available from the oscillator with width modulation for the pulse wave. The sub produces the same waveform simultaneously an octave down. A noise generator is also provided with level control. 

Dual mode low pass and high pass filtering are provided with ADSR envelope alongside the usual amplifier ADSR envelope. 

LFO modulation can be applied with level controls for all three major sections with square, sine, saw, and inverse saw. A separate LFO dedicated to 'sample and hold' modulation is also available and can be applied simultaneously to the standard LFO. Of course, all LFO frequencies can be synced to your music production platform's master tempo. 

Some great features are available along the front keyboard strip (which doesn't exist on the original hardware version), including the aforementioned ensemble/chorus with width control, the basic Jupiter 4 arpeggiator which, of course, can now be synced to your DAW's master tempo, chord memory function (!), I love chord memory facilities, a Roland Tape Echo recreation with time and level controls, and reverb with decay and level controls. 

Controls to the side of the keyboard cover pitch bend/mod wheel controls and polyphonic portamento with time control is provided. 

How Does it Sound?


Well.....I have to confess I've never owned or played a Jupiter 4, so I can't really say how authentic it sounds, but I can say it sounds great! Certainly sounds like I'd imagine a Jupiter 4 to sound, if that makes any sense. Certainly sounds very analog. If you know what I mean. 

Loads of great sounding presets are provided which ably demonstrate the instrument's capabilities to the full. Some of my favourites include:


All Our Eighties.
Angelic Glider.
Brash Brass.
Bright Side. Eighties arpeggiator.
Soft Focus. Analog pad.
Canadian Thunder. Sample and Hold LFO patch. 
Cascades. great sounding arpeggiator patch. 
Funky Clav. analog clavinet. 
Choral Pad. analog choir. 
Fat PWM Sweep. fat analog filter sweep.  


The 16 voice capability certainly helps in this regard, allowing you to stack voices whilst maintaining at least some polyphony, and it also allows bigger chord for the chord memory function!

The additional effects also enhance things. 

Conclusion. 


I really like Mercury-4. You can download a 30 day demo version that has full functionality but just produces a burst of noise now and again, and the full version is a steal at $39. 

It sounds great, and Cherry Audio have added all the right 'virtual extras' without over-complicating things. 

The instant, accessible nature of the instrument should have you playing around, programming, and saving your creations in no time, but even if you don't you'll find plenty of useful noises in the comprehensive, great sounding list of presets. 

Mercury-4 is available as an AU, VST, VST3, AAX plug-in, or standalone version for PC or Mac. 

Links.

More information, download, demo version, and user manual are available from the Cherry Audio website here:



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Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

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